You know me, give me a fantasy setting with truly crude humor and I’m on board. That being said, as much as I love the bawdy and always funny DISENCHANTMENT for its rough edges the show’s third season went beyond entertaining me. In a weird way, DISENCHANTMENT Part 3 earned my respect.
We return to Dreamland for the third time and join our toothy, tempestuous Princess Bean and her friends, Elfo a horny but quite lonely elf and small but fierce demon Luci, on yet another misadventure. After surviving the betrayals of her mother, Queen Dagmar, and an attempt witch burning, Bean finds herself without a home and unsure of who to trust. Her powers are growing and Bean and her friends must venture out to discover new worlds – and new threats to Dreamland.
DISENCHANTMENT is created by Matt Groening (“The Simpsons”, “Futurama”) and stars Abbi Jacobson, Eric Andre, and Nat Faxon and featuring the voice talents of John DiMaggio, Billy West, Tress MacNeille, Matt Berry, Lucy Montgomery, and many more!
The appeal of DISENCHANTMENT has consistently been that it’s immature in the most fun way possible. The animated series has no problem going for the low hanging fruit in addition to the comedy deep cuts and “blink and you’ll miss ‘em” references. The series has been able to maintain a fanciful lightness and distinctly adult flair up to this point, but Part 3 dared to go a little further. Of all three parts, part 3 shows the most growth and more comfortably dabbles in heavier topics in its unfolding epic narrative. For the first time, DISENCHANTMENT felt like an adult series beyond the fact that it makes sex jokes. Part 3 finally put some of that intellect and quick-wittedness to use in the story.
Not only has the humor and story grown-up, but the characters and even the world itself experience massive growth in DISENCHANTMENT Part 3. As with each preceding season, Bean is forced to peel back another layer of incompetence and indifference to first preserve her freedom, then to survive her mother and protect her father, and now to defend Dreamland. As the responsibilities of her position as Princess begin to weigh on her, instead of crumbling like her peers expect her to, Bean rises to the occasion. At the same time, Bean is gaining new perspectives on the world and Part 3 explores Bean’s development as a woman of the world.
The theme of growth in DISENCHANTMENT Part 3 extends beyond Bean to the other characters in the show, and into the broader reaches of the show’s settings. In Part 2 we were introduced to Steamland, the steampunk and technologically advanced counterpart to Dreamland. In Part 3, we return for further exploration of this strange place as well as its implications for Bean and her future as a representative and protector of her home Kingdom.
DISENCHANTMENT absolutely does not shy away from moments of seriousness in Part 3. Previous seasons have touched on Bean’s fears of abandonment and inadequacy while Part 3 dives into the deep end on matters of mental health, love, and loss. This latest season confronts the pains of growing up, the anguish of heartbreak, the fear of putting oneself out there, and the struggles of mental illness and caring for an ailing loved one. Part 3 has significant weight within its season arc, yet still carries it with humor and sensitivity. This may be the first time that I have referred to DISENCHANTMENT as sophisticated, but it’s apt.
While some may argue that DISENCHANTMENT Part 3 veers off course, in terms of the overarching series narrative, this diversion is more than necessary. Part 3 represents a shift to a more mature and intentional epic, punctuated by the humor that we know and love. I’m already hungry for more!
DISENCHANTMENT Part 3 premieres globally on Netflix on Friday, January 15, 2021.